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Terminator Seeds

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on proposals for changes to the United Nations convention on biological diversity to legalise an international market in terminator seeds. [41100]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

Terminator seeds are plants bred using genetic use restriction technologies known as GURTs. The parties to the United Nations convention on biological diversity decided, in 2000, that there should be a
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precautionary approach to the use of GURTs while research into the possible impacts of these technologies was carried out. Parties at the meeting in March, this year, will consider a recommendation by the convention's subsidiary body for scientific technical and technological advice to reaffirm the previous decision. The subsidiary body's recommendation also encourages parties to continue to undertake further research on the impacts of GURTs and to share information from these studies and addresses capacity building for decision making in developing countries. Parties at the meeting will also consider a report on related matters from one of the convention's inter-sessional working groups before deciding what further decision is appropriate.

Our position at the meeting will take full account of these reports, as well as the EU's own regulatory regime which requires that no GM seed may be marketed in the EU unless it has been specifically approved by the member states. Decisions on applications to market GMOs are made on a case-by-case basis taking full account of a scientific assessment of the particular GMO and the risks associated with its use against the criteria in the EU legislation. An application for a GMO incorporating GURTs would be dealt with in the same way as any other GMO. Approval would only be granted if the evidence showed that a deliberate release of the GMO would not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.

World Trade Organisation

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will (a) place in the Library and (b) post on his Department's website documents prepared by his Department for the trade negotiations meeting in Hong Kong; which departmental officials accompanied him to the meeting; and what carbon offset measures were established to cover the Department's delegation. [41570]

Mr. Thomas: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development, attended part of the conference; he was accompanied by his principal private secretary. DFID officials who attended all or part of the conference with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, as part of the UK delegation, were: the Director of Europe, Trade and International Financial Institutions Departments, the Head of the International Trade Department and other departmental officials.

No carbon offset measures specific to this conference were established, but DFID is committed to reducing carbon emissions from official air travel and, together with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has developed a pilot programme to help neutralise greenhouse gases. Under this pilot Programme, DFID staff can exchange air miles earned on official travel for earth miles" at an agreed conversion value. Our aim is for partner airlines to return some of the revenue from flights sold to DFID to pay for a portfolio of 'carbon offset' projects. Carbon offsets, for example, clean energy technology or sustainable land use would neutralise carbon dioxide emissions and contribute to sustainable development in developing countries. We have set up agreements on this
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with three major airlines. In addition to this pilot programme, the Prime Minister has announced that offsetting would apply to all central Government Departments from April 2006.

I have arranged for the document entitled 'trade and development package for G90' which was prepared by DFID for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial in Hong Kong to be deposited in the Libraries of the House. It sets out our view of a package of measures to assist the least developed and other poor and vulnerable WTO member countries—a 'development package'. The UK has been working to build international support for these measures, on which some progress was made in Hong Kong. Other documents produced in the run up to the ministerial will not be made public, since to do so may prejudice the Government's ability to negotiate in the UK's interests and would be likely to prejudice our relations with other states.

Additionally, for further information, I have also arranged for the document entitled 'trade matters' to be deposited in the Libraries of the House.


Electricity Consumption

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate has been made by his Department of the amount of electricity used by (a) television sets, (b) video recorders, (c) DVD player recorders, (d) microwave ovens, (e) modems and (f) answerphones in stand-by mode. [41532]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

While we do not collect detailed information available about all appliances that have a stand-by function the Government's Market Transformation Programme (MTP) does have information relating to the energy consumed in stand-by for those appliances that account for the large majority of energy consumed in UK households. This information is set out in MTP Briefing Note BNXS36 (available via

Estimates of the electricity used in stand-by mode in 2004 for those appliances listed in the question is set out as follows:
(a) Television sets1,113
(b) Video recorders2,282
(c) DVD Player recorders(1)238
(d) Microwave ovens415
(e) Modems(2)19 to 456
(f) Answerphones(3)c140

(1) Information only available for all DVD's including players and recorders.
(2) The actual figure will depend on determining more exact usage patterns. At present MTP has only limited information on usage.
(3) This figure is a best estimate based on limited information.

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Exports (Poland)

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value of UK exports to Poland was in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. [41375]

Ian Pearson: In 2003, the UK's exports of goods and services to Poland amounted to £1,861 million. In 2004 this increased to £1,889 million.

Food Retail Sector

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of current trends in food retailing in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [41428]

Mr. Bradshaw: I have been asked to reply.

The Department's economists keep abreast of the considerable body of research that is publicly available on food retailing trends in the UK. The Department itself also commissions and publishes relevant food and drink research from time to time, such as AEA Technology's report on 'food miles' published in July 2005 and work currently under way regarding productivity levels.

Imports (Burma)

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value was of imports from Burma into the United Kingdom in 2005, broken down by type of product. [41592]

Ian Pearson: Information on the UK's imports of goods from Burma are not yet available for the whole of 2005. The latest data available is for the period January to October 2005. This is provided in the following table:
UK imports of goods from Burma January to October 2005: At 2 digit Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) level

84Articles of apparel and clothing accessories17,209
03Fish, crustaceans, molluscs, etc. (not marine mammals)4,514
82Furniture, bedding, mattresses, cushions and similar stuffed furnishing3,711
63Cork and wood manufactures (excluding furniture)1,073
69Manufactures of metal nes820
24Cork and wood783
05Vegetables and fruit531
89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes313
71Power generating machinery and equipment203
07Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof181
76Telecoms and sound recording and reproducing apparatus180
9-Low value and other goods not classified elsewhere169
77Electrical machinery, appliances, nes and parts thereof121
66Non-metallic mineral manufactures74
83Travel goods, handbags and similar containers42
81Prefabricated buildings; sanitary, plumbing, heating, lighting30
62Rubber manufactures nes26
75Office machines and ADP equipment21
88Photographic apparatus, supplies & optical goods, watches and clocks21
65Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, nes17
64Paper, paperboard, and articles of paper pulp; etc.5
12Tobacco and tobacco manufactures3
87Professional, scientific and control instruments (and apparatus nes)3
67Iron and steel2
74General industrial machinery and equipment, nes1
79Other transport equipment1
Total UK imports of goods from Burma30,857

nes = Not elsewhere specified.
HM Revenue and Customs Overseas Trade Statistics (OTS 1).

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